Monday, March 12, 2007


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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cameras on the race course

This sounds like narcissism, but I always look for the photographers on the race course. You know you're going to get an email a few weeks later with those thumb-nail shots of you sweating your butt off, face contorted in pain and suffering as you struggle through the last stretch. Bad weather makes it worse, because you're wearing some crazy hat-glove-jacket combination.
This shot of me during the 2005 version of the Rodes City Run is perhaps the only half-way decent race picture I've ever received from the people at brightroom. It's also the only one I've ever purchased, partly because my time of 40 minutes and 28 seconds that year was a personal best, good enough for 13th out of 219 runners in my age division. As a seeded runner the following year, I failed to train properly and got absolutely smoked, adding a full eight minutes to my final chip time. Needless to say, the photos weren't pretty.

Friday, March 9, 2007

One more day to register for Rodes

Saturday is the last day to sign up for the Rodes City Run online. After tomorrow, the entry fee increases from $20 to $25 per person. Late entries will be accepted at Louisville Slugger Field, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 16, or on race day for $40.

This is the 27th annual running of the Rodes. The 2005 version of the race was the 14th largest 10k in the nation, with 4,571 finishers. A whole lot more than that are expected to finish this year.

The Rodes, in my view, is the best of the three races in terms of fan support. There's a guy who stands on Broadway pretty much every year jumping up and down and shouting for the runners, and residents of the Cherokee Triangle cheer from their porches. The final stretch downtown is more business-like, but you can usually count on at least a couple of people with boom boxes or cow bells.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Edgar Sosa, college basketball and the Triple Crown

Ran a trial 10k at close to race pace yesterday, following Eastern Parkway to the U of L campus and back to Bardstown Road. Gave me a workout, but the true cardiac moment of the week has to be tonight's double-overtime victory by the University of Louisville men's basketball team over West Virginia.

As I sat on a barstool in Flanagan's Ale House on Baxter Avenue, fingers clenched in front of the widescreen television, I was struck once again by how different long-distance running is from most other competitive sports. Don't get me wrong, the ability of Edgar Sosa to drive through three muscular defenders the size of small trees is something that most of us don't have. It's just that there's an element of chance involved in games like basketball that doesn't really exist with running. Sure, you might have a good day or a bad day on the 10k circuit, or maybe someone else does and it opens a window for you (I'm still waiting for the 177 people in front of me during most races to simultaneously collapse). But basically, you're either prepared or you aren't prepared to pound the pavement.

Running requires time, dedication and a wicked good training schedule. And with the Triple Crown, the investment you've made in those areas -- or lack of it -- becomes all the more obvious as the month of March progresses and the distances increase. An injury to my heal prevented me from really getting in gear until early February. My tendency to over-eat, combined with a larger-than-necessary amount of dark beer over the winter, has put me further behind. So far, I'm down about seven pounds to 183. My younger sister, who is a physical therapist, says it's "not healthy" to lose more than 10 pounds in a month. My goal is to cinch in the belt, eat a truckload of salad for the next nine days, and be down to 178-180 by March 17 for the Rodes City Run. Which is why I was drinking ice water at Flanagan's tonight, even though my buddies were tossing back microbrews. That's fine with me. I may not be the Edgar Sosa of the Triple Crown this year, but at least I'm preparing to go down fighting.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Winner of Anthem 5k eyes second, third legs of Triple Crown

The female winner of the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic last Saturday admits she has a target on her back for the second and third legs of the Triple Crown.

Jamie King-O’Shea finished in 16 minutes and 57 seconds in a come-from-behind victory that also marked her first competitive road race since breaking a toe in December.

The Richmond, Ky., resident is now taking aim at the Rodes City Run and the Papa John’s 10-Miler. If she wins both of those races, she would become the first runner since 2004 – male or female – to win all three legs of the Triple Crown.

“That would be a great accomplishment,” she said in an interview. “I would love to win them all.”

King-O’Shea was a standout athlete at Eastern Kentucky Univerity, where she was a four-time All-American in indoor and outdoor track. She also competed in the 2000 Olympic trials, finishing 9th overall in the 1,500 meters.

But the 31-year-old also has a humble streak. A part-time bus monitor, she talks with just as much passion about raising her three children – all under the age of 5 – and how she wants to teach them that winning isn’t everything.

“I love to get out there to show other moms that it’s possible with kids,” she said. “If you work at what you want, you can do it.”

Wrapping up the Anthem 5k

It’s three days after the Anthem 5K, and I’m still reveling in the energy of race day. Did a training run yesterday morning from my house in the Highlands through the shotgun-lined streets of Germantown, into Shelby Park and back up Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road. Logged about five miles at a slow pace.
Looking back to Sunday, my favorite stretch had to be the final eastbound leg on Main Street with the morning sun pouring over the building tops. Even with a late snow and high winds, the weather was probably the best we’ve had since the Anthem started four years ago. The only low point this year was the crowded starting chute, and the apparent lack of signage separating runners by pace. The theory here is that the quickest people stack up at the front, the mid-level runners in the middle and so on. If it works correctly, fewer runners elbow their way past each other in the first couple of hundred yards, and injuries are minimized. But with 6,204 finishers Sunday, the entire course was crowded and the start was especially confusing, with way too many 8-minute and 9-minute milers toward the front. Also, what’s up with people dropping their iPods on the race course? Either way, it was a good start to the Triple, and an encouraging sign that interest in all three races is growing. Onward to the Rodes City Run!